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Toomey Supporting Bipartisan Measure Combatting China’s Human Rights Abuses Against Muslim Minorities

Uyghurs are Turkic Muslims that live in North Western China

November 14, 2018
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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) joined with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today to introduce the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in response to the gross violations of human rights in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of close to one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, as well as China's intimidation and threats against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs) on American soil.

"The Chinese government's systemic persecution of the Uyghur community because of their culture and religion is an abhorrent violation of human rights," said Senator Toomey. "Worse yet, China is using advanced technology, including technology developed in and exported by the United States, to create an all-encompassing surveillance state that has resulted in the imprisonment and disappearance of up to one million ethnic Uyghurs. I am glad to support this bipartisan measure and bring attention to this detestable abuse."

"The United States must hold accountable officials in the Chinese government and Communist Party responsible for gross violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity, including the internment in ‘political reeducation' camps of as many as a million Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities," said Senator Rubio. "I'm proud to lead this important initiative that elevates the current crisis in Xinjiang, puts forth policy options to address it, and signals that we will not tolerate Chinese government intrusions on American soil."

"The situation in Xinjiang and China's treatment of its Uighur Minority is beyond abhorrent," said Senator Menendez, "and shines a light of China's surveillance state tactics that threaten basic human dignity. The President needs to have a clear and consistent approach to China, and not turn a blind eye as a million Muslims are unjustly imprisoned and forced into labor camps by an autocratic regime."

A copy of the legislation can be found here. Key elements of the legislation include:

  • A report by the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the State Department, regarding the regional security threat posed by the crackdown and the frequency with which Central Asian countries are forcibly returning Turkic Muslim refugees and asylum seekers. The report will also include a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.
  • An FBI report on efforts to provide information to and protect U.S. citizens and LPRs (including Uyghurs) from Chinese government harassment and intimidation.
  • A report by the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media regarding efforts to intimidate Radio Free Asia (RFA) employees, the status and reach of U.S. broadcasting to Xinjiang, and analysis of disinformation propaganda by the PRC targeting Uyghur communities globally.
  • A State Department report regarding the scale and scope of the crackdown.

The legislation urges high-level U.S. engagement on this issue, the establishment of a new "double-hatted" position at the State Department (a Special Coordinator for Xinjiang) while the crisis persists, the application of Global Magnitsky and related sanctions, the full implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a review of Commerce Department export controls and end user restrictions and the establishment of a voluntary database whereby U.S. citizens and LPRs can provide information regarding missing/detained family members with a view toward pressing for accountability.

Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Angus King (I-Maine.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are also cosponsors.